A poor family make the best of things in the Chicago housing projects.
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1979   1978   1977   1976   1975   1974  
Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Complete series cast summary:
Ja'net DuBois ...  Willona Woods 133 episodes, 1974-1979
Ralph Carter ...  Michael Evans 133 episodes, 1974-1979
BernNadette Stanis ...  Thelma Evans / ... 133 episodes, 1974-1979
Jimmie Walker ...  James 'J.J.' Evans, Jr. 133 episodes, 1974-1979
Esther Rolle ...  Florida Evans 109 episodes, 1974-1979
John Amos ...  James Evans, Sr. 61 episodes, 1974-1976
Johnny Brown ...  Nathan Bookman 58 episodes, 1975-1979


Life in the Chicago projects is never easy. However, the Evans family never gives up trying to make the best of things. While Florida and James struggle to provide for their family, their sons, J.J., an aspiring painter, and Micheal, the undying political crusader, cause trouble while their sister, Thelma, stands between them as the voice of reason. Living in the same building were Willona Woods, Florida's best friend from high school who provided support, love and gossip and Nathan Bookman, the overweight janitor who gave them grief and was the butt of a lot of fat jokes, especially Willona who often referred to him as Buffalo Butt or Booger. Life, at least, is never boring while they fight to keep their heads above water and one day leave the projects, which they did in the series finale. Sadly, it was without James, who was killed off in the 4th season. Written by Kate Tripper

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Willona's pet name for Michael was "Gramps". See more »


Starting near the end of Season Four, and continuing throughout the rest of the series, the "Cabrini-Green" housing project backdrop outside of the Evans' window changed, revealing a glaring mistake of scale and perspective.

The left side of the backdrop stayed as it had in earlier seasons (with a view of another Cabrini-Green brick tower across the way), while the right side of the backdrop showed a Chicago skyline, with the Hancock Tower in the background (as it should have looked when viewed from the former site of the Cabrini-Green housing project). This backdrop is correct visually.

For an unknown reason, near the end of Season Four, the right side of the backdrop (which formerly showed the Chicago skyline) changed to a "visual repeat" of the left side of the backdrop (the Cabrini-Green brick tower). The scale and perspective of this "repeat" of the backdrop results in a background that could not possibly exist in real life - the size of the floors of the building do not line up, and the scale of the floors of the building on the right does not match with those on the left (one floor on the right side equals four floors on the left). See more »


J.J.: Jesus may have your soul, but mama gonna have your behind.
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Referenced in The Guyver (1991) See more »

User Reviews

What show was Mr. Wall watching?
18 June 2000 | by TresixSee all my reviews

Before leaving my own comments about the TV series GOOD TIMES, I feel that I simply MUST comment on the remarks of one Mr. Larry Wall. If you didn't like the show, fine, but some of your reasons for disliking it are totally erroneous. To wit:

1. "Thelma dressed like a slut": These must be the HBO episodes! I was always surprised that, considering the way Bernadette Stanis was built, they kept her covered up most of the time. She hardly showed any cleavage, the hemlines of her skirts and dresses were quite low. Her pants and jeans may have been tight but then again, in the Seventies, WHOSE weren't?

2. "(The Evanses were) living like animals": Not hardly. I can honestly say that our family was a little bit like the Evanses and we DIDN'T live in the projects neither. If, as you say, the head of the household is always losing his job, it's going to be kind of hard to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. It's kind of hard to eat fillet mignon on a hot dog budget.

3. "(James) threatened with violence for everything. I don't remember him sitting down and explaining (anything)": You must have missed those episodes, I can remember numerous times when James sat down and talked things out without yelling or threatening to take off his belt. In fact, there was even one episode when he apologized to Michael, which in turn led to Michael feeling as if he could apologize for acting up in school.

4. "James got in front of white people and did that stupid laugh": Wrong! If you look at the show again, you will see that James would do the laugh (A-heh-heh-heh!) only when he got caught in a lie by Florida. Usually about an old girlfriend.

5. "Michael . . . would get put down (for his militantism) and made to seem foolish . . .": Those scenes were done to show to Michael that everything wasn't as simple as black-and-white, so to speak. Example: Florida's rich cousin announces that he had just been laid off from his high-paying job.

Michael: "I'll bet the only reason you were fired was because you're black." Cousin: "Well, if they did, then they also fired six other men because they were white." Get the picture?

6. "It says we're content to live like . . . animals": You could say a lot of things about the Evanses and Willona, but you can't say that they were content with their lot in life. James was always looking for better paying jobs. J.J. (yes, I will admit that he was a BIT much) kept working at his painting as well as looking for artistic jobs. Thelma wanted to be a dancer (and, no, not a stripper). Michael let a street gang know that he wanted more with his life than to settle for being a ghetto resident. To paraphrase Florida in one episode: there is no such thing as a waste of hope.

For the most part, I liked the show during the "James Years". The humor was believable and came from the heart. After John Amos left, the quality of the show really went down. When Ester Rolle left, it took an even bigger dive. Adding Janet Jackson did NOT help things any. When Rolle returned, the damage had been done too far to repair. Mr. Wall, I hope you will look at the show again and think over your past comments. You will see that they DEFINITELY do not apply to the show that was on then.

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Release Date:

8 February 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Great Day See more »

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Tandem Productions See more »
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(133 episodes)
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